Keep Your Hands Warm for Helen and Harry

Snowy Landscape
By Bridget Clabby

 {Helen and Harry are in Horrible Hail in Huntsville–
Helen and Harry would be Happier if they were Hot in Hawaii}

 Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /h/, the phoneme represented by H. Students will learn to recognize /h/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (making your hands warm by blowing the hot air onto your hands as they are next to your mouth) and the letter symbol 'h'. They will practice finding /h/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /h/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words by their beginning letters. Also, use phonetic cue reading to distinguish non-rhyming words by their beginning letters. Lastly, the children will learn to use their phoneme awareness to use invented spelling to write a sentence about an item that begins with /h/. Students will do all of this in order to help Helen and Harry get from Huntsville to Hawaii.


    -Picture of Helen and Harry, very cold in the hail in Huntsville (with tape on the back)

     -Picture of Helen and Harry on airplane (with tape on the back)

    -Picture of Helen and Harry, hot in Hawaii (with tape on the back)

    -Primary paper and pencils, enough for each student

    -White board

    -Dry erase markers


    -Index cards with item pictures on them (six index cards for each group – 3 of the cards have pictures of items that start with the letter H, and 3 do not start with       the letter H) – will be used for assessment.

    -Extra primary paper

    -Extra pencils

    -Book: Dr. Seuss' The ABC Book (ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!)


 1. Introduce lesson by telling students that we are going to help Helen and Harry get from the Hail in Huntsville to the Hot in Hawaii. In order to help them, we have to figure out mouth movements that letters represent. The letter that will help Harry and Helen today is /h/.

 2. In order to keep themselves warm in the hail, Helen and Harry have to breathe into their hands like this (hold your hands to your mouth and exhale the hot air onto your hands, to keep them warm – /h/ /h/ /h/ /h/…). /h/ is the letter that will help Harry and Helen get to Hawaii where it is hot. I want everyone to practice keeping their hands warm, like Helen and Harry have to do in the hail. This is the sound we are going to be looking for today, it is the sound that the letter H makes.

 3. I am going to help you find the letter H in the word "hot". First I need to stretch it out to listen closely – hhhhhot. Hhhh…I am warming my hands right now with this sound. Do you hear me warming my hands at the beginning of 'hot'?

 4. Let's try this tongue twister:

     -Teacher: "Helen and Harry have horrible hail in Huntsville"

    -Let's all say it together: "Helen and Harry have horrible hail in Huntsville"

    -Now lets stretch out the /h/ at the beginning of the words that start with that sound: "HHHHHelen and HHHHHarry hhhhhhave hhhhorrible hhhhail in                        HHHHHuntsville"

    -Let's try that again, but this time, each time we stretch out the /h/ in our words, we will warm our hands too (repeat, this time warm your hands each time you         stretch out the /h/ sound).

    -This time, break the /h/ away from the word: /h/ elen and /h/ arry /h/ ave /h/ orrible /h/ ail in /h/ untsville.

    -***Since students did well, move Helen and Harry one step closer to Hawaii.

 5. Read the students the Dr. Seuss book on the ABC's and have them "warm their hands" when they hear the /h/ sound. This is a good warm up to finding /h/ sounds.

 6. Pass out the primary paper and pencils. This sound we use when we use when we say Helen and Harry, and those other words when we make our hands warm, use the letter H. We are going to draw the letter H on our paper. Watch me first – we start at the rooftop, then go down to the sidewalk, then we hump up and over to the fence and curve back down to the sidewalk. This is the letter that makes that sound that you hear when you make your hands warm for Helen and Harry. Keep practicing making your letter H's on your paper, and I am going to come around the room and check everyone's work. ***Move Helen and Harry another step closer to Hawaii.

 7. Ask students to see if they are warming their hands in – House or Mouse? Hair or Pair? Happy or sad? Hit or Sit? Hawaii or Alabama? ***Move Helen and Harry another step closer to being hot in Hawaii.

 8. Explain to students that Helen and Harry really do not want to be cold anymore, and they want to be hot in Hawaii. But they need your help to move this last and final step to get to Hawaii!

 9. Group students into groups of 3 or 4 to each group. Give each group the stack of index cards with the pictures on them. the students must group the index cards in two groups – one group of things that start with the letter /h/ (start with the warming sound) and the other group of things that do not start with /h/. (ex: "Did we hear /h/ in Mouse? No, so we put it in the pile of items that does not start with H).

 10. Lasty, still in their groups, students will choose one of the items in their pile of things that DO start with /h/ and write a sentence about it using invented spelling. Tell students that this sentence will help Helen and Harry with their last step in getting to Hawaii. Go around and check everyone's work as they write, and help students if necessary. ***Move Helen and Harry their last step to Hawaii!

 11. For assessment: I will be going around the room to see everyone's work. I will make sure they wrote their sentence about the item that had the warming sound of /h/ in it – also, the h should be at the beginning of the word, since that is when you hear the warming sound.


 Pant Like Henry the Hound Dog by Katy Bugg – on Reading Genie

Learning the Letter "G" Sound
By Candace Harrison, Notre Dame College - September 17, 2000


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